blogging, books

The Writer’s Book Tag (Not To Be Confused With The Last Tag I Did)

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Yes, I am on a tag spree! Well, such nice people keep tagging me, and every now and then, I need to write a little bit of something that does not count towards NaNo, so, here we go.

The last post I did was The Writer’s Tag — this is The Writer’s Book Tag, meaning it’s about books that writers read.

First Draft: A book or series that you’ve never read before.

I have never read anything by Brandon Sanderson (though he seems to be big in the fantasy lovers’ camp), and I never picked up the Percy Jackson series — any of them.

Second Draft: A book or series you didn’t like as much the second time you read it.

I’d have to say Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I know these are both classics and very important to a lot of readers, and please don’t hurt me! Maybe there’s something about approaching some children’s tales with the innocence of a child’s perspective. While I loved Wilbur and Charlotte’s story as a youth, somehow re-reading it as an adult made me feel like, “Oh, please, spare me the bleeding heart!” (And I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool right-winger by any means.) And while I completely understand that the demise and return of Aslan is totally a metaphor for the events of the first Easter, re-reading this novel again in my adulthood absolutely broke my heart for Susan and Lucy — so young — having to witness all of that. I think if Lewis had made their characters a little older (say, 18 and 16), I wouldn’t have found it so traumatic.

Final Draft: A book or series that you’ve liked for a really long time.

Harry Potter. It’s one of the few recent series that I feel easily has the potential to become a classic, that I’ve re-read all the books and not found their impact to be diminished, and I can’t wait to share them with my own kids.

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Killing Off Your Characters: A book or series that made you cry.

Do I get to mention Harry Potter again so soon? So. Much. Crying.

Plot Holes: A book or series that disappointed you.

The sequels to Jackaby are at the top of this list. I really enjoyed the first, the second was pretty good, but seemed to have nothing to do with the whole arc, and the third totally killed my interest. A real shame.

Writer’s Block: A book or series you never finished.

Wow, there are plenty of these! I’m probably the queen of DNF (and usually have no qualms about it!). One that really digs at me is Jackaby, though — see above — I’ve decided not to even read the fourth and final novel.

Feedback: A book or series you’d recommend to anyone and everyone.

For fantasy, I’d say The Scorpio Races. For non-fantasy, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tale of Two Cities, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and if you need a contemporary, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella or Girl Online by Zoe Suggs.

Per tradition, I won’t be tagging anybody else, but if you need a blog post and fancy this one, have a great time!

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books, The Invisible Moth

Dreamings and Muses Now On Sale!

Dreamings and Muses

Well, it took a little while (don’t we all love formatting issues?!), but my complete short story collection is now available!

If you click on the link below, you’ll find the information towards obtaining your own copy!

Massive thanks to Alea Harper for the wonderful cover (and putting up with all the re-formatting we had to do)!

This is a nice little collection of 4 stories that I penned a while back, and now have compiled for print. I also included author’s notes on my influences and writing process.

The contents are “Just Pretend,” “Me and You,” “Primitive,” and “Tad Fallows and the Quarter Pints.” The first and second are basically romance, with elements of speculative fiction; the third is my only attempt at sci-fi; and for those of you who think the title of the fourth sounds familiar, yes, you’re right. This short story actually sparked one of the clever little plot points in Masters and Beginners.

The sale price is $6.55 (USD), plus shipping in most cases. (Remember, Barnes and Noble has free shipping options sometimes!)

(Okay, awkward self-promotion moving onwards… Still hoping it encourages some of you to place an order — your support is always the best, moths!)

I’m afraid I can’t offer any free review copies this time. I do plan to add this anthology (cool word, huh?) to Goodreads, and if anyone wishes to post a review in the future, that would be lovely!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamings-and-muses-daley-downing/1127168779?ean=9781538036631

blogging, books, tags

The Totally Should’ve Tag

Hello, all! What, another tag, you may say? Well, yes, it is — I’ve been tagged by the lovely The Orangutan Librarian — and, truth be told, I am pouring all my creative energy into Volume 2 and 3, so here’s to having no ideas left over for blog posts!

Totally Should’ve…Gotten a Sequel:

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I’m so going with The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater here. It’s interesting, because on the one hand, I appreciate a YA author actually determining to write a standalone and stick to it. However, since I also honestly feel that The Raven Cycle could have been condensed into a duology (no one hurt me!), and that The Wolves of Mercy Falls seriously could’ve been a standalone (just Shiver), it shows that while I like this author, I don’t always agree with her choices. Whereas in her other series I thought she got too long-winded, in The Scorpio Races there was SUCH a rich and vivid worldbuilding that I wanted to know more about. I think a sequel, say, in 10 years or something, maybe with an adult Kate/Puck or with her kids, would be great. It could explore things like, do the Races continue indefinitely or will they eventually get shut down? Did Kate and Sean stay together? Did anybody who intended to leave the island ever come back? All the good stuff.

Totally Should’ve…Had a Spinoff Series:

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Definitely Harry Potter! I would happily read anything about Hogwarts, more about secondary characters like the Weasleys, the history of Voldemort’s war on other wizards and the start of the Deatheaters, what happened to people like Neville and Luna after school… (Sorry, Ms. Rowling. I do actually respect her decision to write about other subjects. I know that if I felt ready to wrap up a series, I wouldn’t want folks bugging me for more.)

Totally Should’ve…Ended Differently:

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All right, John Green fans, don’t throw stuff at me. These are the only two novels of his I’ve read, and I think it’ll stay that way, because I take issue with how he chose to end them. This author apparently has a real talent for twisting the last 50 pages, so that what I anticipate will happen so does not, and not in a good way (in my view).

I know this will be a bit controversial, but I seriously thought it would be Hazel who died in The Fault in Our Stars, and in Paper Towns I really wanted Quentin to tell Margot to go bleep herself after he went through all this stuff to find her and she was just like, “Oh, hey, what the heck are you doing here, go away.” I’m very aware that most people who read John Green think he can do no wrong; but this is just my opinion, so, there you go.

Totally Should’ve…Had a TV Show:

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Given alllll the information about the Faction System that’s only hinted at in this trilogy — especially the massive twist on its origins — I think a TV series could’ve done better justice to explaining all the complexities of this than squeezing an action-based plot into 2-hour movies.

Totally Should’ve…Had a Film Franchise:

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White Fang and I are of one mind on this — a set of Warriors movies would be awesome.

Totally Should’ve…Had One Point of View:

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This is a novel I really struggled with, anyway; the multiple POV did not make it any easier. I don’t think Auggie’s POV should even have been focused on; I would’ve liked to read the whole thing from, say, his sister’s perspective, or one of his classmates.

Totally Should’ve…Had a Cover Change:

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Yes, I know I am The Invisible Moth. But the little flitty things on the U.S. cover for Strange the Dreamer just made my skin crawl. Why can’t we have the more elegant and mechanical drawing-ish UK version here, too? That I wouldn’t have felt the need to hide every time I tried to read more of this title.

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Totally Should’ve…Stopped Reading:

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Yup, this is me, bashing the Shadowhunters series. I simply felt it’s gone on too long. I finished City of Glass and loved the resolution — Jocelyn was awake, she and Luke were finally getting together, Clary and Jace were free to be a couple, Valentine was dead, Simon would’ve been a great nerdy vampire and Izzy was fantastic with him, Alec and Magnus were established — BOOM, perfect, wrap it up. The 4th, 5th and 6th books weren’t necessary at all, in my view, nor the spinoffs. Sorry, fans.

Totally Should’ve…Kept the Cover:

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Okay, this is an old book, that I don’t know if it’s even still in print in the USA *sobs*, but this is the original cover on the copy I first read from a library *cough, cough* a long time ago. I like the almost art deco look to it, because it perfectly fits the 1950s setting of the story. But when I tried to order a paperback from Amazon a few years back, this is what arrived:

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In my opinion, too cheesy, too modern, too trying to make it a YA Mills and Boone (which this story is not). Big sigh.

Totally Shouldn’t…Have Pre-judged:

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After getting about 75 pages into this and returning it to the library (twice!), finally I finished it, and was super glad I did. The first few chapters of this novel are kind of plodding, and a bit depressing, and I really wasn’t hooked. But when I embarked on the re-read-to-the-completion, the style got me going enough to continue (personally, I love Holly Black’s style, even if most of her subject matter isn’t to my taste), and in fact that the dark and dreary setting serves well to set up all the twist-to-positive-character-growth by the end. I’m really glad that I went back to The Darkest Part of the Forest in spite of my earlier misgivings.

And there we have it! As usual, I won’t be tagging anybody specific, but if you’d like to tackle this, go for it!

 

 

books, Young Adult fiction

Discussion: Presenting What We See Versus What We Hope For In YA Fiction

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So, last night we watched the movie version of “Everything, Everything,” and while I haven’t read the book (and realistically, I wouldn’t, because it’s a contemporary and a romance and I don’t read those), I’m certainly capable of reading reviews and finding out if the book was different from the movie.

Now, after doing some research, I have a bunch of “interesting” thoughts to share. (Cue a big rant.)

Alert: Massive spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I will ruin it all for you. Hey, at least I warned you.

Okay, here is the premise of the story: Meet Maddy, nearly 18 and stuck in her house, because she has an autoimmune disorder, meaning that she’s allergic to the world (and, yes, this is a real, complex condition). Her mom is a doctor, she gets all her treatments at home, via a visiting nurse, and she takes online classes. Then one day a lovely young lad moves in next door, and attraction happens, and of course they try to find ways to have a relationship in spite of Maddy’s situation.

(My first thoughts as we watched the early scenes of the film were comparisons to an episode of the TV show “Scorpion,” but we’ll get to that in a minute.)

Maddy’s mom is super overprotective — yet, can you blame her? The mere fact that her daughter will probably get pneumonia just by going outside and being exposed to germs would be enough to make most parents in those circumstances overprotective. However… This is where the spoilers start. As the movie progresses, you begin to get the idea that something is up.

You never see any of the medicines Maddy must have to take. You never see a list of her food restrictions, which there must be. She doesn’t have an oxygen tank or an epi-pen or protective medical gear anywhere in her house. All the nurse has to do, apparently, before examining Maddy, is wash her hands. This does not seem to make much sense.

The episode of “Scorpion” I mentioned earlier had a girl “in a bubble” — the poor thing was so autoimmune that she wasn’t allowed human contact (they had to wear those CDC suits to get close to her), her room had to be temperature controlled, she couldn’t be in direct sunlight, etc. From the criticisms I’ve read of “Everything, Everything” it sounds to me like “Scorpion” has the more accurate portrayal.

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Well, there is a very good reason for this — SPOILERS DON’T GET BIGGER THAN THIS — it turns out Maddy isn’t actually sick at all. Her mother is a complete whacko who has been keeping her daughter trapped in a clean house, because after Maddy’s dad and brother died suddenly, she couldn’t stand the thought of something happening to Maddy.

Now, from a writer’s point of view, this is an incredible twist, and as a viewer/reader, I thought it was such an impactful choice for plotting. And I thought that the ending — Maddy abandoning her mother after she learns the truth, to go live the life she’d never had and deserved — was perfect.

But on the other side of the coin, I was also furious. To say that what Maddy’s mother did was unethical is merely the tip of the iceberg. Not only should she lose her medical license and go to jail, but it would also be fitting for Maddy to never speak to her again. And for someone to start a foundation for kids who really do have the autoimmune condition that crazy witch faked for Maddy. (If I was the author, that’s what would’ve happened.)

I can see why this novel has garnered extreme criticism from people who actually are ill with what Maddy is supposed to have. It’s like this story is trivializing such a serious medical issue because, surprise!, Maddy’s in fact healthy and can just run out of her house to go live a normal life. Although I imagine this was not the author’s intention, I can totally understand how this perspective could be misconstrued. And I get why it would make people mad.

As White Fang and I watched the movie, we kept expecting something to happen to Maddy, basically that she’d quickly pass away, and we were ready for that to be the ending. And the point would be, “Hey, she took a chance and died with no regrets, and hopefully her mother would see that.” (And for anyone who has issues with that, yeah, I get you, too.) But for the big reveal to be what it actually was…

Well, that makes me bring up this: Why is it that the parents in YA fiction always have to be such complete !@#$%^&*. (You can mentally fill in your impolite word of choice there.) This story is a MESS on steroids when it comes to the adults. Maddy’s mother is certified mentally unstable. Olly’s father is drunk and a wife-beater, and his mom is too afraid to leave, so she stays in a situation that threatens her own kids’ safety. Maddy’s nurse — well, the movie didn’t make it clear whether she knew the truth or not, but if she did, OH MY GOD, why didn’t she tell Maddy and turn in Maddy’s mother to the authorities?!?! As a parent myself, I simply cannot imagine what the point is of having such horrific role models presented to the very impressionable audience of teenagers.

Yes, there are some adults in the world who are piss-poor examples of adults. I know that, but I don’t accept it. If we’re really going to teach our kids how to be decent adults, we have to give them good role models to follow.

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When did it become totally okay for fictional parents to be everything from low-key neglectful to downright vile, sub-humans, with none of the other characters calling the police, contacting Social Services, going to teachers or ministers for help? In real life, we tell kids all the time that if they’re being abused to go to a trusted adult. Well, how are they going to do that if they think there are no trustworthy adults?

When did it become the gold standard in publishing for 16-year-olds to have to save the entire world? I’m specifically thinking of dystopias like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, in which anyone over the age of 20 is a complete schmuck (or gets killed if they’re not). Compare this to Harry Potter, where the kids are indeed going forth to battle evil — but their parents and teachers are right there beside them.

There are major reasons I don’t read contemporary YA romances — this is one of them.

This is also why I write parents who care, who can be trusted, who make sure the kids finish their chores and homework and eat their greens.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. We need MORE adults like this in YA. Period.

Okay, rant over. Any thoughts, fellow readers and writers?

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books, reading

Either Or?: Bookdragons Weigh In

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Here’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately — we’re all told that compromise and being able to negotiate is good. Not willing to bend our possibly strict and unrealistic goals can make life hard. In many ways, I can understand (and even agree with) this. For example, when your 4-year-old is throwing a total tantrum over your insisting they take a bath complete with hair washing, nail clipping, and having the dog jump in for a quick grooming, in the interest of getting the most important stuff accomplished, you’ll probably have to re-think your plan. Start by identifying your major hopes: That the child no longer has spaghetti in his hair or up his nose. That he goes to bed clean-ish. Are any of his nails poking holes in other people? No? Then it can wait until he’s quiet and cooperative. And the dog can stay in his spot and chill.

Anyway, after this kind of long and not-at-all-related-to-the-post opening analogy, let’s approach what I’m really after here. When is it not okay to relax your plans and ultimate goals? I’m not even talking major philosophical or theological matters. I’m simply discussing the idea that authors compromise far too much when it comes to their writing.

(By the way, if you have a 4-year-old who doesn’t like to take baths, and a dog, follow the above advice. I am winning at bargaining with kids and pets.)

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of selections — by several different authors, and in different genres — that have made me wonder if the publishing market is rife with recent releases (within the last couple of years) that were evidently passed over once by an editor and thrown into the consumer arena to serve their major purpose of making money. At the expense of the readers’ satisfaction.

And, here’s a hint, publishers, since we do pay your bills — our satisfaction should really be considered during the whole preparing-to-print process.

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This is where I get the thought of “either or.” It makes me wonder if the editors feel that they need to choose between plot progression and character development, and that somehow it’s become impossible to include both in the same novel. That an author can have a longer book with more minor, unnecessary characters and tons of irrelevant dialogue — but they can’t have a longer book with more backstory of the world and explanation of the main character’s past.

Apparently, either a YA novel can have dead parents or bad parents, but not living, good parents. (This is beginning to change, thank God.) An adult fantasy novel can have a female lead that’s a complete kick-butt sword-wielder who’s a horribly nasty person to everyone supporting her, or she’s a near half-wit who collapses with a (poorly-depicted) panic attack at the very mention of having to ride the second-best horse in the kingdom. No in-between. Dystopians always feature a revolution and a fight to the death where somebody’s a sacrificial lamb — or there are zombies. The list goes on and on; you get the idea.

As a reader, I’m really getting tired of it.

Recently, I started reading A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin. Usually adult fantasy is near the bottom of my recommendations list. But I was driven by a strong curiosity to find out what the big deal was about this series. As someone who did not like the cable show, I thought I’d give the books — the source material, after all — a fair shot, since adaptations are just that, and not always faithful. Yes, Martin’s writing still includes violence and sex and profanity — but I’ve noticed it serves a purpose (which seems to be lacking from the show). Martin uses all these factors to establish his setting, the mindsets of his characters, and the world they live in. While he uses more of it than I personally would find necessary as a writer, I don’t hold it against him.

Especially since his story includes so much more than shock-and-gore tactics.

For one, there actually is a story. A rather complex one, with a huge, varied cast of characters; it’s all plotted out pretty well, and there are no obvious gaping holes that make me squint and yell at the pages. There is tons of worldbuilding — it’s clear from the start of this ambitious series that Martin knew his fictional world’s history and why it is where it is when he brings the reader to it. Most of the characters are two-to-three-dimensional and feel relatable, and therefore we want to know what’s going to happen to them. And we get more details about them in relevant, 3-to-4 page recollections or musings or discussions, not massive infodumps that have us struggling to stay standing after absorbing them.

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This is such a drastic change from 90% of the novels I’ve read in the past two years. And, sadly, no, that’s not an exaggeration.

Martin is an established author with a lot of writing credit and experience. This on its own doesn’t mean he’ll never produce mediocre work. But what encourages me that he won’t fail is the fact that his work ethic is clear. He strives to tick all the boxes: the characters and the plot and the pacing and the worldbuilding. It’s obvious he went for balance, and took care to make it happen.

While I’m not saying no other author does that (I know it just isn’t true), after getting a bunch of disappointing flop my way, this is a refreshing change.

Here’s the major crux of this whole rambling: When did it become acceptable for “either or” to take center stage for authors and editors?

How many authors have said they didn’t like people who claimed what they did “wasn’t real work,” because they indeed worked very hard? How many authors who received awards for their novels had every right to be proud of their efforts? How many kept writing out of the sheer joy of seeing their words come to life on paper? Of hearing readers say, “I loved your book!”

Rather than just to make money?

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This certainly isn’t true of every current New York Times bestseller. Seeing the reviews of many other unsatisfied customers, though, it seems that I’m far from the only one having these thoughts and feelings.

Books are special. We should use them to create characters who teach us something, ideas that help us grow, ponderings and musings that fuel the imagination.

And high numbers on a royalty check wouldn’t change my opinion on that.

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blogging, books

Book Bloggers Do’s and Don’t’s

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Not that there are actual rules (nobody panic). (Unless you’re doing something I expressly put on the list of don’t’s. Then wallow in your shame and change your ways.)

No, kidding. But being a book blogger is in fact much harder than many people realize; so here are some tips to help you survive the online jungle, and successfully continue your endeavors for sharing your love of reading.

DO read what you like, and post what you want to. There are few things more frustrating for a bookdragon than feeling compelled to read books they simply have no interest in, just because “everybody else is reading it.” There’s nothing wrong in sticking to your favorite genres. Only write reviews if that’s your preference. Or only post discussions. Whatever — it’s your blog, and most of us are not being paid to do this, so what’s the point of not enjoying it?

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DON’T turn your comments section into Confrontation Central. Yes, you have every right to express your opinion. So do those who comment on your blog. Even if it doesn’t match up with yours. The trick is to maintain a presence that keeps yourself and your readers comfortable. Most people who didn’t like a certain author/series will just say so nicely, and not mind if you loved the minature pandas out of it. If you feel somebody’s really getting out of hand, though, probably the best thing to do is just ignore it, or block it (I mean literally, via technology).

Also, know how much disagreeing is too much for you. If “Mysteries are so retardedly boring, I don’t know how anybody with half a brain cell can read them” honestly doesn’t bother you, then don’t draw the line there. But if you’d really prefer people to stick to, “This one just wasn’t my thing, thanks,” then don’t be afraid to lay down the law. Again, it is your blog, and ultimately your decision.

DO visit other blogs. Especially when you find another blogger who reads a lot of the same stuff you do. Not only can you find some great new authors this way, you build online relationships that may become important and lasting.

DON’T do the “follow for follow” thing. If you really like someone’s content and want to subscribe to their blog, please go ahead. But subscribing only with the hopes that they’ll do the same for you is kind of like only sending forwards of crude jokes to your distant relatives. Most of us do end up following each other, because we build friendships through our common interests. That’s the ultimate hope for a lot of us, not to have 10,000 subscribers (9,000 of which may not even read our posts).

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DO give your honest opinions about books. Yes, I really mean that. And “honest” does not mean the same as “cruel and unusual ways of expressing your personal dislike of a specific novel.”

Of course, it is your blog, and ultimately your decision on how negative is too negative. But personally, as an author myself, I would feel really horrible if I read a review that basically told me to go jump off a bridge (including gory details of what it would look like after I hit bottom), simply because the person didn’t enjoy my book. That’s where I get my guideline from. Tactfully saying, “I just felt this was too dull and I couldn’t relate to the characters since they all seemed not to care that they hurt the old lady’s feelings,” can make the difference between losing and gaining respect among your fellow bookdragons/authors.

DON’T worry about doing ARCs. Now, I may feel a little blue in the face, because this is a topic I’ve covered a lot lately, but it bears repeating. ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy, and is a free edition of an impending release, sent either by the author or the publisher, in the hopes of getting lots of reviews out before the sale date. Many book bloggers feel becoming someone who gets all the coveted ARCs is the Holy Grail of this venture. However, there are a lot of downsides to having to read a book you may not even like, on a deadline, and needing to post a review that other people are going to make a big deal of. My advice is don’t sweat getting approved for ARCs if it sounds like your seventh circle of hell.

DO become as engaged as you want to be. Jump on the bandwagon for tags if you think they’re really fun. Start accounts on Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, and Pinterest if it makes your little heart flutter with joy. Sign up for blog tours, guest posts (writing and receiving), host giveaways.

And also, never be afraid to step back and disconnect from certain platforms or activities when you know it’s simply overwhelming you.

Remember, all of this only works if you’re truly happy with it.

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books, writing

How to Write Your Book Like a Movie

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No, not literally like a movie — sorry, guys, if you want screenplay/script writing advice, this isn’t that post.

I mean: When you write your novel, it really helps to have ongoing visuals happening simultaneously in your mind’s eye. Description is important — but it’s also important to descript in a way that doesn’t overwhelm your readers.

As not just a writer but a reader myself, I’ve come across more than my fair share of novels that simply felt far too wordy. And as a writer, I try really hard to avoid typical problems that readers moan over.

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One of those is 17 paragraphs in a row that use 9-syllable adjectives to sum up: “The marketplace sat in the middle of the town square, lit by gas-fueled streetlights and filled with vendors selling baked goods and weapons.”

A method I employ to hopefully set the scene without releasing a plague of purple prose is imagining each chapter in my novel as the film version. I think about what the characters are doing (body language, facial expressions, physical actions), the tone of their voices, what they’re wearing (even if I don’t mention it in the text), what building/room/outside setting they’re in, how that looks (again, not necessarily telling the reader every tiny detail).

This really helps engage my effort and passion for the story. Writing is work, whether we want to admit it or not. And if we want others to read it and enjoy it (not simply to pay us, either), we should do our best to ensure our product is realistic.

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When you watch a movie, all the relevant information is straight there on the screen. The directors make sure that you get a sense of what’s happening in that moment by including not just the major stuff (like trees if the characters are in a forest), but little touches (like a child’s drawings on the refrigerator door of a grandmother’s kitchen).

Thinking about stuff like that when you’re writing can add a great deal to your story.

Remember, though, going overboard isn’t great. Finding the balance is key.

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Here’s an actual example from Masters and Beginners: “It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. It was a pleasant late summer’s evening, shortly after sunset, the sky a rich navy
blue, stars beginning to twinkle in the distance. In a pleasant subdivision, residents were settling in for the night. In a tent pitched on one of the well-mowed lawns was a group of
four teenage girls, in their pajamas and sleeping bags, currently finding out who could come up with the scariest scary story.”

I don’t need to go into which day of the week it is, exactly what hour and minute, the color of each girl’s pajamas, and the average square footage of the houses in the subdivision.

However, if I had only written, “There was a tent in a backyard and 4 girls were having a sleepover,” it might not be enough to give the reader a proper idea of what’s going on.

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Good movies rely on the “show don’t tell” guideline of entertainment. I don’t mean never revealing the vital plot points directly to the audience. But revealing small clues through the discreet look one character gives another, a letter that someone reads but doesn’t put in front of the camera, the shot that pans around to the vase that was supposedly broken after the owner has left the room. You get the idea.

This is an excellent tip for writers of any medium. Personally, I love it. And I love reading novels that use it, too.

Hope this helps some of you struggling with description and balance. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

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